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Your First Family Outing

By Brian J. Lane

Nowadays children just don’t have the same opportunities to get out and enjoy nature the way many of us did when we were young. The influence of computers, the emergence of latch-key kids, and the need to protect children from potential harm has lead to children having little or no relationship, and sometimes an unfounded fear for the campestral outdoors.

When planning a hike with the family be sure to let the whole family participate in choosing the right hike. It is important for everyone to be engaged and excited about the chosen destination. During the planning stage also make sure that your plans aren’t too ambitious. As always, start off with easier hikes and increase the difficulty as everyone builds up their strength and endurance.

Choose the right gear for each hike and environment. As always, make sure you bring the ten essentials, but ensure too that what you carry is appropriate. If it might turn cold and rainy, you’ll need warm, waterproof clothing. If the trail might get icy you’ll need cleats, crampons, or some other way to increase your traction. Another part of the experience is to keep the group’s energy level up; that means bringing good food and snacks to nibble on during the excursion.

On the flip side, don’t bring too much and overburden family members with needless gear. Treat such problems as blister hotspots, twisted ankles, or dehydration right away. If one person simply can’t, or doesn’t want to continue, then turn around. It shouldn’t be a forced march – and you want to make the experience enjoyable for everyone involved. Sunburn can be another big problem so make sure you bring plenty of sunscreen and ensure that everyone is wearing sun protective clothing too.

Hiking and camping can provide lifelong memories for those involved – make sure they are positive ones that the whole family can forever share with each other.

Hike Smart & Have Fun!
Brian

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